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The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s most diverse and divisive plays, exploring themes of faith, trust, family, love, friendship, fidelity, and maybe most importantly, time. A tragedy of kings and queens in the first half crashes directly into a floral comedy with shepherds, shepherdesses, and clowns in the second. The link between these two worlds seems to be nothing but a “wide gap of time,” but discoveries are made and truths are revealed.
“The themes within this script can be challenging even for professional adult performers,” says director Robin Fowler, “and our students have had to step up to meet them. Acting challenges include anchoring the most fantastical elements of this tale in the real world; creating characters who show the weight of age and loss over a great number of years, and even figuring out how to put a bear on stage. “
A cast of only 12 students populates this world of over 25 characters, most actors taking on at least two different roles throughout. The Winter’s Tale features Joshua Goldberg, Sebastian Logue, Corrie Owens-Beauchesne, Annika Strand, Van Wile, and Abi Wool – all of Portsmouth – along with Connor Adams of Eliot, Jemma Glenn Wixson of Kittery, Lily Magnan of Durham, and Isabel Smith of Stratham.
Production staff for The Winter’s Tale includes director Robin Fowler, a Youth Repertory Company alumni; stage management by Rachel Vilandre; set and lighting design by Meghann Beauchamp; and costume design by Emily Karel, also an alumni.
Established in 1999, the NHTP Youth Repertory Company is the only auditioned youth company in New Hampshire that offers intense acting training, master classes with guest artists, and the opportunity to perform in a professionally produced performance of classical dramatic literature. As preparation for The Winter’s Tale, Youth Repertory Company actors spent a full semester studying the work of Shakespeare, and attended a master class in Chekhov acting technique with guest artist Peter Josephson.